The column that says let’s all meet at Bridgeton City Council’s work session Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. in the courtroom at the municipal complex far, far out on Fayette Street where president Gladys Lugardo-Hemple will bang down the gavel, and certainly we hope the five workers who collected the $500,000 in a lawsuit are not only buying, but also going to announce how they’re going to invest it in the city, and 260-pound Dean Dellaquila will be there on behalf of public works wondering when the brick sidewalks and downtown shrubbery will be gone.
By Jack Hummel
Radio: 92.1 FM Saturdays noon to 2 p.m.
U.S. Army: RA13815980
Google all columns at jackhummelblog
“Today, we celebrate Independence Day. As a naturalized American, I cherish the liberties, freedom, and opportunities I am afforded because I know what it is like not to have them.
“We go about each day expecting to come home at the end of the day unscathed. I still remember vividly how narrowly we escaped political violence when I was a child.
“Despite its imperfections, ours is a great country. Freedom comes with great responsibilities. I feel more grateful this morning and with a renewed sense of purpose and commitment to my community and my country. Happy birthday, USA.”
— Prez Yves Salomon-Fernandez,
CCC president and maybe the most outgoing person ever in Cumberland County, and maybe we can talk her into running for president
THE PREZ SURROUNDED BY ROYALTY.
Do we have a single sign in the city park, especially around the zoo and splash park, announcing a single amenity downtown?
Just asking …
And if the answer is no, we have an advertising desert that could be tapped by Bridgeton Main Street, who has a hand-written sign on one of the closed N. Laurel St. buildings announcing meetings are every third Wednesday at Gallery 50.
Why do we get the feeling that Pastor Rob Weinstein and his M25 initiative to house 42 homeless has people watching and feeling he can do everything, so why help. He’ll still get it done.
Public Works Director Dean Dellaquila is eating apple pecan chicken salads at Wendy’s, and we know that because we saw him and two underlings through the window in their yellow shirts on the Fourth of July, which proves that not all the wealthy grill 24-ounce steaks on holidays.
Later, Dellaquila was holding up one end of a sign at the flower bed that is the entrance to the park.
How slow does government work …
A little history
July 5, 20103
Two months ago, City Council President Gladys Lugardo-Hemple tripped on a brick sticking up out of a city sidewalk and fell.
The tumble led to a tumble in the stock of the colonial sidewalks installed in the 1970s to make the town look historic.
Public Works Director Dean Dellaquila called the situation “dangerous.
“When I was down there Sunday for Cinco de Mayo, the only thing on my mind was who was going to fall next,’’ he said. “ We’ve been patching here and there. Band-Aids. I’m tired of Band-Aids.
“We need to come up with a plan.’’
On Tuesday, Business Administrator Dale Goodreau amped up movement on the project, estimated three years ago at $2.75 million.
“We need to make a decision today on what we want our future sidewalks to look like,’’ he told council.
The reason is, the new social services building project on North Laurel Street is moving so fast, the city has to move on the sidewalk from Washington Street to the Rovner’s building on Laurel Street.
The county will pay the cost.
“But,’’ said Goodreau, “we also need to do from the Rovner’s building to East Commerce Street, right now at the city’s expense.
The city is hoping to apply for a grant to cover some of the total cost around the city.
“We want to do that whole block with the new look, (right now),’’ said Goodreau. “Our engineers have suggested we go with the exposed aggregate with a soldier course.’’
A soldier course is a single line of bricks on the edge of a concrete pattern.
“That’s also one of the worst areas,’’ commented Dellaquila about North Laurel Street.
“These bricks, you can see them contract and expand when the temperature changes. The problem is the shade trees. The tree roots push up on the bricks.’’
The trees are scheduled to go, too.
GLADYS LUGARDO-HEMPLE TRIPPED ON A BRICK.
Four years ago almost to the day.
Today, Dellaquila said while holding up traffic in his city-issued pickup in front of the Ashley-McCormick building, “The bricks need to be gone!”
Not happening in this budget. And what difference would it make anyway, as far as increasing foot traffic goes? None. And lawsuits seem to be a way of life in this city.
Remember the coffee shop on East Commerce Street closest to the river?
The inscription on the bottom of the shuttered business reads, “Bringing commerce to Commerce Street one cup at a time.”
Guess who went the extra mile with the downtown facade program? Hummel’s Liquors! They not only spend a lot of their own money on the front facade, but duplicated it on the back of the store facing the riverfront.
Is the downtown dirty? If you think it is, take a photo of your proof and put it on Facebook so Dean Dellaquila can see it. He’s in charge of keeping it clean, and he wants your input now, not your memories.
Not the way it was before the big red and blue barrels that stream recycling. Not before they got rid of those inadequate green, plastic containers that held nothing.
Go ahead, take a photo, or keep your mouth shut and your guts warm.
The rusting theater marquee has to go, or be used.
It probably has more potential than any sign in the city, but now sticks out like a sore thumb reminding people what used to be.
Is there a theater marquee grant among all the signage offers? No, we don’t want to bring back the theater because those days are going the way of newsprint, but to replicate a sign that size to announce future events would be cost prohibitive.
We could redo it with neon with the money we get from tearing down the pink elephant at Laurel and Washington, where the plywood is not even placed to look good before it was whitewashed.
It’s small pieces of plywood simply dribbled together.
Where is code enforcement in Bridgeton? Why must the obvious remain to detract from our town?
Sam, can we dress up the outside of Gallery 50? We’re not talking about the display windows, but the outside appearance. The Steamworks logo next door is outstanding, though it could scream COLLEGE more if it were attached to the building facing east and west.
You have to get the most mileage out of your star venues. And Steamworks is one of them.
Why not signs on major arteries announcing STEAMWORKS?
Study history every Sunday in July at Old Broad Street Church from 1 to 4 p.m.
SHINE Teen Camp runs from Monday, July 10 at 9 a.m. to Friday, July 14 at 4 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Millville under the direction of Shaun Connors, often confused with Mother Teresa.
It welcomes at-risk, Center City youth like a beacon in the night.
Only those who have volunteered for SHINE would realize the impact this program has year round.
Our hero on the frontlines dodging flak and calling for artillery …
“So I’m looking back over my TNVR notations to find a particular statement made by a person whom let’s just describe, as less enthusiastic about TNVR and than we are. I found what I was looking for and because it was a statement made by a person of authority and a type of statement a person in that position usually doesn’t make, I started to review other material pertinent to the timeline as a ‘benefit of the doubt’ consideration in the ‘totality of circumstances.’
“As I reviewed, it became clear that in the 5 short years I’ve been advocating for TNVR to anybody who can hold their head upright, that there has not been a period of time where general public and local govt. interest has been greater than that of the past 6 months.
“Since January, we have initiated programs with the CCSPCA designed to lower their kill rate and general intake population strained by kitten season, and even provoked a left handed endorsement of TNVR from its director. The tension and deafening silence between the CCSPCA and area animal welfare groups has risen to see actual cooperation existing between the two. We have cities with existing feral cat programs willing to meet with sincere interest in correcting inadequacies. I have personally spoken to 3 representatives from municipal govts who’ve initiated those talks aimed at their possible inclusion.
“But the observation that meant the most was the willingness of our local animal groups and interested citizens to act collectively in order to promote the cause. Anyone doubting that should review the archived recording of the June freeholder meeting.
“If you’ve ever presented an issue in a public forum where you were in the minority of its popularity as I have over the last 5 years, let me tell you how freakin’ AWESOME it is to give that same heartfelt presentation with an overwhelming cast of supporters, many of whom (sorry, I can’t hold it back — excuse the pun) don’t have a dog in the fight.
“I’m convinced now more than ever that we can pull this off if we stick together acting as a single entity for the cause. There needs to be a directional meeting soon and you need to be there. Especially if your town has not yet considered an info session to learn more about TNVR.
— Ric Kuhns,
TNVR chief advocate leading an army to humanely end the feral cat population
Even if you don’t care … read this …
“I am finally ready to let everyone hear my story of my battle with being an addict for so long I was totally ashamed of my life and the way I was living it .
“I have battled this fight for three year, tried many times to overcome it, but was never really ready to walk away from heroin nor put it down long enough to realize everything that I was losing and had lost.
“I mean, come on, I actually overdosed three times and that wasn’t enough to say, man, I have kids that love me, a family that loves me and don’t want to see me die, but when ur an addict, nothing else matters to you but how your gonna get your next fix.
“Recently, I was put in the hospital for a bad infection that I had running through me and it opened my eyes to the way I was actually living — no electric no food and wasn’t seeing my kids the way I should nor taking care of them like I wanted to. Every day, I woke up mad because I was still alive when inside all I wanted to do was die and I was to coward to take my own life.
“But after leaving the hospital, I went and moved back in with my parents and I was actually ready to just quit. It was like a switch turned on inside of my body and I new from that second I was done. I decided I wasn’t going to do heroin ever again in my life.
“I know that I take it day by day and one step at a time. You can’t say that I don’t get urges, but I can say that I overcame them and, as of today, I am clean and have been clean for a little bit now and it feels amazing to live again
“I feel emotions again. I am not chasing drugs all day and I feel like me again. I no longer wake up wishing to die and hating the mother, girlfriend, grand-daughter, niece or daughter that I was to everyone.
“I know I have a million bridges to mend, but I will mend them in due time.
“All in all, my addiction put me in places I never wanted to be in, but I am just glad that I made it out alive and are here to say I finally kicked heroin’s ass. I know my recovery is gonna be a lot of work, but I can promise you, I will work as hard as I can to keep myself the way I am right now.
“But God put me through all of that just to mold me into the woman I am today and open my eyes to a new world that I never thought I would see again, but I just want to say thank you for sticking by me through all of the Bullshit I put you guys through.
“I am truly sorry and I want to say I love you (deleted) for deciding to get yourself clean with me. My life is now and always will be about my recovery and I will work as hard as I can to stay clean, so anyone that is out there thinking there is no light at the end of the tunnel, I promise you there is.”
— one day at a time
YOU CAN BOOK IT: Everybody from grade school up needs to hear this story.